Kelly Hartman tells the history of Gallatin County’s first jail through some of its more interesting residents in her book Wicked Bozeman (Arcadia Publishing, $22). In telling these stories, Hartman depicts a part of Bozeman’s history that in many ways reflects how the times shaped people in Montana. Hartman is the curator at the Gallatin History Museum, which operates out of the old jail today. The building itself is a representation of Bozeman in the early 1900s. The local architect declared it “escape-proof” at its opening in 1911. Almost immediately, six inmates escaped. It wasn’t until about 100 years later that their escape route became known.
Hartman goes through jail ledgers, old newspaper clippings, and other historical resources to piece together the histories. She writes of the men and woman who passed through the jail, and how time there transformed their lives—sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. —Hannah Kearse